Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Young Adults Struggle with Lack of Paid Sick Days

During the health reform debate there was a lot of talk about the need for young adults to have access to their parent’s insurance because many found insurance too expensive and went without. Because illness can strike anyone, even the young, Congress extended the age that a child can be on their parent’s insurance until 26.

While this is a great accomplishment, if young adults cannot use their insurance because they cannot take off of work to see a doctor or get the care they need, then they will still find themselves facing chronic issues that could have been easily treated or resorting to the emergency room for non-emergencies.

A new report, The State of Young America, shows that young adults have little access to paid time away from work to use to recover from illness and care for a sick family member. A survey of young adults, ages 18 to 34, shows that fewer than 3 in 10 reported having paid sick days they can use for themselves, a child, and an immediate family member. Fewer than 1 in 4 women and fewer than 1 in 6 Latinos said they have this basic right.

Young Americans face very tough times ahead. Unemployment and underemployment are rising, the cost of living and student debt are increasing, and wages are declining. Missing even just one day of work can mean the difference between paying bills and putting food on the table.

Worker and family friendly policies like paid sick days are necessary for the economic security of all Americans because no matter someone’s age, everyone can get sick and everyone deserves the time to get better.

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